Exploring Carnosine Side Effects: What You Need to Know

Table of Contents

Exploring Carnosine Side Effects: What You Need to Know

Table of Contents

Carnosine is a natural histidine-containing dipeptide, which is found in high concentrations in the skeletal muscle and the brain. It has also been studied for its potential health benefits, including its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

However, like any supplement or medication, carnosine also has its side positive and negative effects. 

In this article, we will explore the potential side effects of carnosine and what you need to know before taking it as a supplement. We will also discuss the dosage, interactions, and who should avoid taking carnosine altogether.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Carnosine?

Carnosine is a natural histidine-containing dipeptide composed of two amino acids, beta-alanine and histidine. It is naturally present in high concentrations in skeletal muscle tissue, brain tissue, and other tissues throughout the body. 

This dipeptide is also believed to play a role in various biological processes. This includes antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, as well as regulating pH levels within cells.

Furthermore, carnosine is found in many foods, including meat and fish. It is also available as a dietary supplement. It has also been studied for its potential health benefits, including improving athletic performance, reducing inflammation, and protecting against age-related cognitive decline. 

In one study, the researchers investigated the role of carnosine in exercise performance during a 30-second maximal cycling sprint. [1] They measured the carnosine content in the quadriceps muscles of 12 healthy male volunteers using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and correlated these measurements with their exercise performance.

The study concluded that higher levels of skeletal muscle carnosine contribute to better exercise performance during short-duration, high-intensity activities like sprinting. 

Carnosine and L-Carnosine: What’s the Difference?

L-carnosine and carnosine are two related compounds that are often confused with each other. While they have similar names and chemical structures, they still differ in their composition and effects on the body.

As mentioned, carnosine is a dipeptide composed of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. Meanwhile, L-carnosine is a form of carnosine that has been acetylated. This means it has been modified chemically by the addition of an acetyl group. This modification is believed to increase the stability and absorption of the compound. 

In addition, L-carnosine is found in high concentrations in skeletal muscle tissue and the brain.

Both Carnosine and L-carnosine are available as dietary supplements and are often marketed for their potential health benefits. However, more study is required to completely comprehend the impacts of these substances on human health, as well as any possible adverse effects or interactions with drugs or other dietary supplements.

Therefore, it is always important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

How Does Carnosine Work?

According to researchers, carnosine may have a number of advantageous impacts on the body, albeit, the precise mechanisms by which it functions are not yet entirely understood.

Carnosine’s antioxidant effect is one of its main uses. For instance, free radicals, which are unstable chemicals that can harm cells and have a role in a number of disorders, can be scavenged by this substance.

In addition, it scavenges these radicals to shield cells from oxidative stress and lessen the possibility of cellular damage. Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), which are harmful substances, have been shown to protect the brain from them.

It is also believed that carnosine has anti-inflammatory effects. For instance, it can stop some inflammatory molecules from being produced, which will lessen inflammation in the body. This might also lessen the symptoms of inflammatory diseases like arthritis.

The ability of carnosine to control the pH levels inside cells represents another potential mode of action. 

Since carnosine is a buffer, it can aid in preserving the pH balance within cells. [2] This is significant since pH abnormalities can cause cellular harm and be a factor in a number of disorders.

Carnosine’s precise mechanisms of action are still being researched. However, it is thought that its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pH-regulating qualities are crucial to any prospective health benefits.

Carnosine Supplementation and Dosage Recommendations

Carnosine is available as a dietary supplement in capsule, tablet, or powder form. The appropriate dosage of carnosine can vary on the reason for taking it and individual factors such as age, weight, and overall health.

Furthermore, there is no established Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for carnosine. Supplement dosages can also range from 500 mg to 2000 mg per day. However, most studies on the effects of carnosine have used doses of 500 mg to 1000 mg per day. [3]

It is also important to follow the dosing instructions on the supplement label or as recommended by a healthcare provider. Taking more than the recommended dosage of carnosine can increase the risk of side effects.

Take note that carnosine may also interact with certain medications or supplements, including blood-thinning medications and supplements that affect blood sugar levels. Therefore, we recommend consulting a healthcare provider before taking carnosine or any other supplements.

Additionally, it is important to choose a high-quality carnosine supplement from a reputable manufacturer to ensure safety and efficacy.

Muscle Carnosine and Aging

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Carnosine levels in the muscle decrease with age, which may contribute to age-related decreases in muscular function and athletic performance. According to studies, elderly people often have lower amounts of muscle carnosine than younger adults.

It is believed that a variety of variables contribute to the fall in muscle carnosine levels with age. These factors include decreasing dietary consumption of foods high in carnosine, decreased muscle mass and levels of physical activity, and changes in the expression of genes involved in carnosine synthesis. 

However, carnosine supplementation may assist in making up for some of the age-related decreases in muscular performance, according to available research. It has also been demonstrated to raise muscular carnosine levels in older persons and may enhance tests of muscle strength and endurance.

Carnosine has also been demonstrated to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may aid in lowering oxidative stress and inflammation that are linked to aging.

Carnosine: Risks and Side Effects

There is limited research on the potential side effects of carnosine, but overstimulation is not a commonly reported side effect of taking carnosine supplements.


Carnosine is a natural compound found in the body and in certain foods. Therefore, supplementing with carnosine at recommended dosages is generally considered safe for most people.

However, some people may experience mild side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, or stomach discomfort.

Low Blood Pressure

Some people may experience a decrease in blood pressure when taking carnosine. Low blood pressure (also known as hypotension) can cause symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.

One study published in the Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology journal (2003) found that a single dose of carnosine given to healthy volunteers caused a significant decrease in blood pressure. 

However, the decrease in blood pressure was temporary and returned to normal within a few hours.

While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of carnosine on blood pressure, it is important to be cautious when taking these supplements. This is particularly if you have a history of low blood pressure or are taking medications that can lower blood pressure.

We also recommended consulting with a healthcare provider before taking carnosine or any other supplements to discuss potential risks and benefits. If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking carnosine, including low blood pressure, seek medical attention immediately.


Carnosine supplements are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Individuals with kidney disease should also consult with a healthcare provider before taking these supplements, as they may have difficulty processing excess amino acids.

Why Choose Carnosport Gel?

CarnoSport Gel is a pre-workout gel designed to support exercise performance and reduce muscle fatigue. It contains a combination of beta-alanine and L-histidine, which are amino acids that work together to increase carnosine levels in muscles. The gel form allows for easy and convenient consumption before workouts.

One potential benefit of CarnoSport Gel is that it has been studied in clinical trials, including a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2012. The study found that supplementation with CarnoSport Gel improved exercise performance and reduced fatigue in trained cyclists. [4]

Another potential benefit of CarnoSport Gel is that it may be more effective at increasing muscle carnosine levels than other carnosine supplements due to the combination of beta-alanine and L-histidine. 

However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of this specific product on muscle carnosine levels and exercise performance.

Learn more about CarnoSport gel here!

FAQs About Carnosine

How is muscle carnosine concentration related to dietary carnosine intake?

Dietary carnosine intake can increase muscle carnosine concentration. Studies have shown that increasing dietary intake of carnosine-rich foods or taking these supplements can lead to increased levels.

How is muscle carnosine synthesized in the body?

Muscle carnosine is synthesized in the body from beta-alanine and histidine. Beta-alanine is converted into carnosine in the presence of histidine and the enzyme carnosine synthase (muscle carnosine synthesis).

What is the significance of muscle carnosine concentration in human vastus lateralis muscle?

The human vastus lateralis muscle is one of the most studied muscles in terms of carnosine research. 

Studies have shown that higher muscle carnosine concentrations in the vastus lateralis muscle are associated with improved exercise performance, increased muscle buffering capacity, and reduced muscle fatigue.

Can carnosine treatment be used to prevent or treat neurological conditions?

Carnosine has been studied as a potential treatment for a number of neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and autism. Some studies have shown promising results. However, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness and appropriate dosages.

Are there any side effects of carnosine treatment?

Carnosine is generally considered safe and well-tolerated. But some people may experience mild gastrointestinal discomfort or allergic reactions. High doses may also cause a tingling sensation in the skin. So, it is important to talk to a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements or treatments.

Final Thoughts

Source: Pexels

When used at recommended doses, carnosine is usually regarded as safe for the majority of people and offers many benefits. For instance, carnosine supplementation benefits skin health by protecting against oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, both of which can harm skin cells. 

Although, some people may develop adverse effects, including decreased blood pressure, wooziness, and flushing. A healthcare professional should also be consulted before taking these supplements because they may interfere with some drugs.

Overall, carnosine appears to be a promising dietary supplement with a range of potential health benefits. However, as with any supplement or medication, it is important to weigh the potential benefits against the risks and speak with a healthcare provider before beginning supplementation.


[1] – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12139778/

[2] – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20199122/#:~:text=Carnosine%20may%20attenuate%20acidosis%20by,defence%20against%20reactive%20oxygen%20species.

[3] – https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0271678X16658302

[4] – https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-9-39